Where did all the loot go?

Posted: December 12, 2007 by Xeavn in Everquest 2, General Game Concepts, SOE
Tags: , ,

If you have had a chance to play the new Rise of Kunark expansion at all since it was released on the 13th of November, you have likely noticed some changes in the loot received for quests, dungeons and from named mobs. I am going to wait until the end of the article to post what I think of these changes. Instead I would like to see if I can make some comparisons from before and after. These comparisons may or may not be completely accurate, and will mostly be my opinion. I did not think to get statistics on drop rates before the expansion went live, and I am not going to bother getting statistics on the current drop rates.

I want to start with a look at treasured gear. Before the expansion I felt that the treasured level gear was for the most part pretty good. I still had at least 4 or 5 slots that I was wearing treasured gear in on a regular basis. Treasured gear had a somewhat wide range in how good it actually was, but for the most part it went from near legendary down to absolute junk. To be fair though, I felt most of the pieces were on the higher end of the scale. Even if a piece wasn’t great, there were a lot of pieces which were situational. I had some good pieces that were useful for an elemental or a poison fight.

With Rise of Kunark, treasured gear got neatly split into two different categories. There was treasured gear created as quest rewards, which was more like legendary gear in a treasured disguise, and then there was treasured gear created by meshing two prefixes and a suffix together to determine what it looked like. You have probably seen more of this gear than you care to. It is stuff like plate gear with intelligence and spell damage. Even if you manage to draw two really good stats for your class, chances are it is still so bad you wouldn’t use it. Honestly I don’t know why they went to the trouble. They could have just as easily given you the choice of a random transmuting component or the amount of gold it would sell for and saved us all some time, and inventory slots.

To take a step back and look at the quest treasured though, this is the gear that should be dropping. You can tell it was made to be used. The stats are good, and most of them had really good effects. In fact, it was so good, that less than a month after the expansion was released, most of it was tuned down a bit. I may not be wearing a lot of this quested treasured gear anymore, but I am still using a few pieces.

The reason I am not wearing it anymore is the Legendary equipment. In the previous expansions Legendary seemed pretty rare. It wasn’t impossible to find, but it didn’t drop that often. If you were running dungeons, you had a chance to get some, including the level 70 legendary sets, but you had a pretty good chance of getting a Master spell drop, which usually meant no equipment, or a decent treasured item which meant you didn’t get lucky enough. This made it at least slightly rare. There was the occasional quest line that would reward you with Legendary gear, but these quests usually had a decent number of steps, and usually required taking a group inside an instance half a dozen times to complete those steps. Class Hats for instance were Legendary. Cloak of Flames was Legendary. These were quests that required quite a bit of work.

The biggest and probably most noticeable change for me in Rise of Kunark is that Legendary now  no longer seems well Legendary. The factions shower you with Legendary equipment if you have the platinum to buy it, quite a few different quests reward you with Legendary gear for what really isn’t a whole lot of work, and it can be done solo. Trash in the dungeons seem to be dropping Legendary equipment on a somewhat regular basis.

So what is the slightly more rare drop in dungeons now? If you guess Fabled gear you would be correct. Before Rise of Kunark, you usually had to raid or run a quest line that would involve raiding in order to see Fabled gear. Now it is dropping somewhat like Legendary equipment used to. It actually may drop a little less than Legendary used too, but I have seen two pieces of Fabled gear in about six runs through Crypt of Agony. The new fabled gear from these dungeons isn’t too rare. In fact the only thing that does seem to be somewhat harder to find is Master spells. I am not sure if this is on purpose or why Sony has chosen to make the Master spells more rare, but they do seem to be. Personally it doesn’t bother me too much. There are a few spells I would like to have at Master level, but for the most part they don’t seem to be that much of an upgrade over the Adept III’s of the same spell, or even the older Master I from the previous tier.

So what do all these observations equal? Well I can’t say for sure, but I will now give you my opinion on it. I had been wondering for a few days why loot drops from dungeons seem so pathetic. I think I have finally realized why. Legendary is the new treasured, and all the treasured gear that does drop is just vendor or transmuting trash. This results in what seems like relatively little loot coming out of dungeons where I probably spend a couple of hours and kill eight different bosses. Sure, I may have gotten 4 legendary items, but on average probably only two of those were actually usable by anyone. Everyone is packing a ton of legendary already, and so these drops may or may not be upgrades. If we manage to get a Master spell or a Fabled item, it was a good run.

Where does this leave item progression for Raids? I haven’t had the chance to raid yet, so I don’t know the quality of the items coming out of the raid zones. I did get a chance to look at my class set though, and honestly it is a bit underwhelming. The Legendary gear that I am wearing is packed with awesome proc after awesome proc. Sure the Fabled set has a lot of stats on it, but will that be enough to make it worth wearing? I don’t know the answer to that, but it will be somewhat disheartening if the upgrades from raiding are not worthwhile.

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